Elephantiasis otherwise known as Lymphatic filariasis, is a neglected tropical disease characterized by enlargement of the limbs, breasts and scrotum. It is a parasitic disease that is caused by roundworms( Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi ) and is transmitted by mosquitos (culex, aedes, anopheles). Therefore, people living in tropical areas are mostly at risk, more so at the Coast.
The mosquito transmits the disease through bites, from an infected person where they pick the larvae of the worm and transmit them to the new host. The worms have an affinity for the lymphatic system where they cause obstruction. Usually the disease is asymptomatic until in the later stages where the limbs start swelling. This swelling can cause, stress, economic losses in treatment and permanent disability.
Treatment options include dewormers such as Albendazole and Ivermectin. These drugs have little effect on the adult worm but greatly reduce the number of microfilariae in circulation. Another option available is surgery.
Prevention is always better than medicine hence control of mosquitos is important.
In conclusion, I would just like to say that this disease may lead to stigmatization. People living with it need to seek medical help since the condition worsens with time. Early diagnosis makes a good prognosis.